Below we’ve curated five steps for creating high-quality content directly from SEO and content marketing pros.
Let’s dive in:
1) Don’t shy away from hard work
While many marketers are going for the quick hack, going the extra mile will pay off big time. Black hat and gray hat SEO (e.g., PBNs, keyword stuffing, link schemes) might give a short-term boost, but may harm you in the long run or even ruin your business entirely.
Write content that is both SEO optimized and consumable by humans. Write in-depth and actionable content with an ambitious, and ideally predictable, posting cadence. Focus on creating new posts, but don’t forget to update old ones for new information and to capture new keywords.
SEO is a game of small process improvements.
2) Stick to your plan
The most successful blogs build a trusted and recognized brand by creating long-form, actionable content tailored to their target audience (e.g., intermediate and advanced marketers, if you’re a marketing blog).
Although you will not always see the immediate benefits of this approach, it’s important to trust the process and have a long enough timeframe to see the rewards.
3) Updating content still has a massive ROI, but many marketers still put this task last on their lists
It’s easy to always focus on creating new content, but updating your old content and focusing on the entire library is often a high-ROI activity.
For example, you may be ranking for keywords you didn’t even target. If you’re ranking at #9 for one of the unexpected queries, can you target it more directly and improve it?
SEO is largely a winner-take-all game from the vantage point of individual SERP results. Getting into the top-3 or getting a Featured Snippet is huge. If you’re in the 6-10 range, you’re unlikely to get even 4% of the traffic for that keyword. Once you get out of the top-10 it’s very hard to get any traffic from it.
Small changes make a huge difference.
The smart move here is understanding which posts will benefit the most from an update, and prioritize them.
4) Don’t create bland me-too fluff
Rearranging content from the top blog posts in the SERP is a common strategy. People look at what has worked and try to copy it or improve on it. Brian Dean of Backlinko calls it the Skyscraper Technique.
But just copying won’t cut it. Sites that rank at the top for high-demand keywords have strong authority.
If you’re in the trading, investing, and financial niche it’s going to be hard to compete with Investopedia for many queries. “Beating” the quality of their article for “monetary policy” (over 30,000 searches months) isn’t going to enable you to rank over them or Wikipedia or the Federal Reserve’s or IMF’s website.
You can, however, compete better with long-tail keywords, such as “monetary policy vs fiscal policy pros and cons”. You still aren’t very likely to beat out Investopedia, but you’ll have a shot at ranking in the top-10 if the article is done well and your site at least has some built-up authority.
If you don’t know much about the subject you’re writing about, reach out to experts, and ask them to share their knowledge. When you can’t create, curate!
5) Make time to learn and recharge
There’s a limit to how much creativity we have. You can still publish high-quality work at a high cadence, it will be very difficult to remain at your best without taking a step back from time to time.
Learning new things will strengthen your creativity muscle. It will also grow your ability to create new, great content or improve existing content.